Is David McSweeney Bill Part of Jack Franks’ Plan to Cripple Two Female Elected Officials?

David McSweeney

Thinking through the unintended and/or intended consequences of State Rep. David McSweeney’s bill to provide McHenry County Board Chairman Jack Franks with line item veto power, I’ve come up with come up with another possibility.

Remember how Franks wanted to put a referendum on last fall’s ballot to abolish the County Auditor as an independent check and balance on the rest of county government?

The Northwest Herald ran an article on Franks’ proposal in which his preferred choice to replace the retied Pam Palmer was CPA Nancy Gonsiorek.

McHenry County Board member Jim Kearns was one of the first to congratulate Shannon Teresi on her selection to represent Republicans as their County Auditor candidate in last November’s election.

The former Crystal Lake Grade School Board member had agreed to serve through the end of Palmer’s term.

And, on the GOP ballot in the Republican Party Primary Election, she agreed to step down from that endeavor.

Franks argued that the Auditor could be replaced with an Inspector General appointed by, guess who?, Franks-compliant County Administrator Peter Austin.

That effort, led by Board member Jim Kearns, was squashed by supporters of Palmer’s wholly qualified Shannon Teresi.

A couple of line item vetoes to Teresi’s budget might make it very difficult for her to perform her statutory duties.

Jack Franks

She could become a toothless tigress.

Then there is the other woman that Franks has gone after—Leslie Schermerhorn.

She serves as McHenry County’s elected Regional Superintendent of Education.

Besides thinking the office should not exist, Franks covets her office space to house the expansion of his empire.

But his interaction with Schermerhorn pretty much proves he does not need line item veto power.

Leslie Schermerhorn

Franks decided to cut her budget last fall and succeeded.

He convinced a majority of the County Board to make the cut he advocated.

But with a line item veto, he could everything but her salary.

That would effectively abolish the office.

Going after strong women who oppose him is perfectly consistent with what Franks and his allies have done since he took office.

Besides the attacks on Teresi and Schermerhorn, remember the anonymous leaflets attacking Board member Donna Kurtz, who decided not to run for re-election, and the Illinois Integrity Fund mailings against former Board member and candidate Ersel Schuster?


Is David McSweeney Bill Part of Jack Franks’ Plan to Cripple Two Female Elected Officials? — 10 Comments

  1. McSweeney is a huckster and a false prophet.

    His cargo cult of “conservatism” has been exposed to the light.

    Self-seeking men deserve no praise.

  2. McHenry County Bblog is the spin zone.

    A piece of legislation in less than 6 days has gone from “McSweeney proposes legislation” to “Franks trying to undermine the county,” to “Franks hates women.”

    Meanwhile, whiners ask, “why doesn’t the Northworst Herald ever cover this?!”

    Because maybe it’s made up BS?

  3. lol the nw herald did cover this bro. Did you see Ed Komenda’s headline?

    It’s quite suspicious how much cover mcsweenie has gotten from the media to begin with.

    If you have a problem with “conspiracy theories” then write to the Northwest Herald too.

  4. Does state statute or county board rules provide Jack Franks with any veto authority?


    The form of government voters agreed to in McHenry County is one that gives more power to the board members and less to the County Board Chair.

    Contradictory to that, Chair line item veto reduces the power of board members and increases the power of the Chair.


    A form of government that would have given more power to the McHenry County Board leader was defeated by voters in the November 6, 2012 County Board Executive referendum.

    It would be interesting to know if the County Board Executive form of government includes line item veto.

    It would also be interesting to know what other counties provide the County Board Chair / Executive / President with line item veto power.

    Cook County?

    Will County?



    Following is a summary of selected changes in the McHenry County Board over the last sixteen years with a focus on Jack Franks.


    Jack Franks was the most visible proponent of the unsuccessful November 6, 2012 County Board Executive referendum.

    That was a referendum to change the form of government to County Board Executive, including an elected County Board Executive.

    A County Board Executive has more power than a County Board Chair.

    On October 17, 2012 at McHenry County College, there was a debate between Jack Franks and Michael Tryon about the County Board Executive referendum.

    Then State Representative Jack Franks was for the County Board Executive form of government.

    Then State Representative Michael Tryon was against the County Board Executive form of government.

    Here is a 3:31 video clip from that debate.

    The clip highlights some of the powers granted to the leader of each form of government.


    Jack Franks was the most visible proponent of the successful March 18, 2014 voter direct election of the County Board Chair referendum.

    That referendum changed the method in which the County Board Chair is elected.

    Previously there was no County Board Chair office on the ballot.

    Rather, voters elected County Board Members, and after the election, the newly seated County Board elected one of their own to be County Board Chair.

    As of November 8, 2016, the voters directly elect the County Board Chair.


    In the spring and summer of 2014, Jack Franks, then a State Representative, was promoting that the County Board place two non binding advisory referendums on the November 4, 2014 ballot.

    1. Should the County Board reduce its membership from 24 to 16 by changing from six districts (4 members per district) to sixteen districts (1 member per district).

    2. Should local governments be prohibited from hiking property taxes if the overall assessed valuation of the district decreased.

    The following appeared in the June 6, 2014 edition of the Northwest Herald.

    “Franks made clear that he is not pushing for County Board changes as an effort to run for the chairman’s seat in two years, following the footsteps of former state senators Chris Lauzen and Dan Cronin, now chairmen of the Kane and DuPage county boards.

    ‘What I’m trying to do is reduce our property taxes in McHenry County and make it more livable so people don’t leave,’ Franks said.

    ‘I can promise you I am not running for county chairman in 2016.

    This has nothing to do with me.

    This is about good government.'”

    The McHenry County Board did not pass either measure.


    Jack Franks announced his candidacy for McHenry County Board Chair on May 15, 2016, was elected County Board Chair on November 8, 2016, and sworn into office on December 5, 2016.

    Immediately after taking office he embarked on making several changes, frequently without consent of the full county board, such as:

    – cancelling all county board committee meetings for about 2.5 weeks, then providing a 721 board packet with only a few days notice prior to the December 20, 2016 board meeting;

    – posting board packets at the last minute for some meetings;

    – changing county board rules;

    – forming a temporary rules committee;

    – forming ad hoc committees;

    – completely changed the job descriptions and titles of two county positions and placed them in a different department (County Board Office – his office) without full consent of the County Board enabling Mr. Franks to hire two patronage employees as personal staff;

    – The two new positions follow;

    – Temporary Project Manager was reclassified to County Board Chairman’s Executive Assistant in the County Board Office;

    – Utility Coordinator was reclassified to Communications Specialist in the County Board Office;

    – one such employee wore a Jack Franks political campaign sticker and handed out Jack Franks political campaign items while representing McHenry County at a McHenry Chamber of Commerce expo;

    – hired outside counsel for parliamentarian (an additional cost to taxpayers as the States Attorney’s office was previously providing such services);

    – the outside counsel parliamentarian is from Cook County;

    – proposed and passed an $80K property tax hike when he had campaigned to cut property taxes by 10% shortly after taking office (no expectation of an immediate 10% cut but the hike was unnecessary although small);

    – bypassing the County Board and working directly with County Administrator Peter Austin whenever possible.


    The following advisory question was placed by the County Board on the November 8, 2016 ballot and approved by voters:

    “Shall the number of County Board Members be reduced from from the current 24 members to following the 2020 Decennial Census?”


    Subsequently, on Tuesday September 18, 2018, the County Board voted to reduce the number of county board members from six four-member districts (24 members) to six three-member districts (18 members), a 25% decrease, effective with the March 15, 2022 primary and November 8, 2022 general elections.

    The entire board is up for re-election then as a result of redistricting after the 2020 US Census.

  5. David McSweeney will lose my support for re-election if he proceeds with this move and we should seek to replace him.

  6. Dave and Jack have been a team since Dave first got elected, it’s a fact, most just are seeing it till now.

  7. Well done Mark.

    Appreciate the thorough research.

    I always thought it was a bad idea to provide the chair a full time salary and staff.

    Too much power at the top and the rest cannot keep up, nor does it pay to do so.

    The voters only have themselves to blame, saw this problem when the idea was proposed.

  8. It sounds to me like a vulnerable politician who is concerned about a Democrat challenger.

    Expect more of the same from those politicians who covet the office more than they do principle.

  9. Republican State Representative Dave McSweeney filed the bill on Friday February 15, 2019.

    It is House Bill 3317 (HB 3317) in the 101st General Assembly. > Legislation & Laws: Bills & Resolutions > House Bills: 3301 – 3340 > HB 3317 – McHenry County – Various

    On Tuesday February 19, 2019 Dave McSweeney was changed to Co-Sponsor, and Lake County Democrat State Representative Sam Yingling became Sponsor.

    So now a Lake County Democrat State Rep is sponsoring a bill to give more power to McHenry County Democrat elected County Board Chair Jack Franks.

    The House Speaker is Democrat Michael Madigan.

    The Senate President is Democrat John Cullerton.

    Both are the top person in their respective legislative bodies (they have the most power in the State House of Representatives and Senate).

    The State House and Senate have a supermajority so they can override a Governor veto, but that probably would not be necessary if the bill were to make it to the Governor’s desk, since JB Pritzker is also a Democrat.


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